This Week In Food

Wow, I'm really slacking with the blog this week. We've had such wonderful weather that we've been spending a lot of time outside lately. I have a lot to catch up on. I'll start with a post full of food. I like to post the successful new recipes that I try so I can keep track of them. I tend to have a stack of printed out recipes with scribbles all over them with the changes I've made. Posting them keeps them much more organized and readable.

Homemade Ice Cream
adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe

8 egg yolks
2/3 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla

In a large sauce pan, whisk together all of the ingredients except for the vanilla. Stir constantly over medium heat (I switch to a wooden spoon after the sugar is dissolved). Cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the wooden spoon. Take the custard off of the heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap (making sure the plastic wrap touches the top of the custard to avoid a skin forming) Refrigerate until the custard is cold. Pour it into your ice cream maker... simple as that.

I like to freeze ours in small storage containers so no one is tempted to eat the whole batch in one sitting. Though I know no one in this house (Jon) would do that.

Super Easy Peanutty Snack Mix (from the top of the Smuckers Peanut butter)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 cups Cheerios (I used 2 cups honey nut and 2 cups regular)
1 cup peanuts
1 cup mini pretzels (I didn't have any so I used another cup of plain cheerios)
Heat oven to 350* and line a baking sheet with foil.
In a microwave safe bowl, combine butter and peanut butter and microwave until the butter is fully melted. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Pour the butter mixture on the cereal and mix well. Pour onto the baking pan and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let it cool and store in airtight containers.
**I also added raisins to this mix AFTER baking. This recipe can be really flexible. I think you could probably substitute any similar cereal for the cheerios. I bet Chex would work well. You could change out the peanuts for another nut... or add other dried fruits. I loved how the cereal stayed nice and crunchy even after 5 days.
"See my cheerio?"

Evan is a good cinnamon shaker.

I'm going to be making a double batch of this before we go on our next trip. It would be a perfect car munchy snack.

Oven Roasted Crispy Potatoes
This is more of a method instead of a recipe. I've roasted potatoes before but have never gotten them crispy. I finally have figured out how to oven roast them so the bottoms are nice and golden brown and crispy.
Potatoes (I like Russet for oven roasting)
Olive Oil
Salt (I used sea salt)
Preheat oven to 450*. Cut up the potatoes in large chunks. Put them into a large casserole dish or on a baking sheet. Pour enough olive oil on the potatoes to coat them heavily. Put little bits of lard around in the pan so it'll melt when the pan goes in the oven. I put about a tablespoon total. The lard was the essential crisping ingredient. Sprinkle liberally with salt and as much pepper as you like. Toss the potatoes around so they're coated and bake for 45-60 minutes. (I stirred the potatoes about 10 minutes after I put them in the oven so that the melted lard would be evenly distributed)
I used this same method over the weekend for french fries but cutting the potatoes into spears and laying them in one layer on a baking sheet. YUM!

Mini Fruit Pies
I had leftover pie crust and decided to use it to make mini fruit pies using a muffin tray.
I used a large drinking cup to cut out circles from the pie crust.
I sprayed a muffin pan liberally with non-stick spray and then lined each one with a crust disk.
I still had a quart sized bag of frozen strawberries leftover from last summer so I tossed them with 2 Tbsp. of corn starch, 1/4 cup of sugar, a little cinnamon, a little salt, and a bit of vanilla. I baked them at 400* for about 40 minutes.


The cornstarch left a bit of white powder on the tops of the pies but otherwise I was over the moon pleased with these. The juices gelled nicely so that the pies held together and were easy to get out of the pan. Between Jon and I, these only lasted 2 or 3 days. Very, very delicious.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread (adapted from King Arthur Flour recipe)
(I doubled the following recipe so I could freeze one loaf)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 very ripe bananas
3 Tbsp. peach jam (or any other slightly tart jam)
2 Tbsp. honey
2 large eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt (because I use salted butter... if you use unsalted butter, use 1 tsp. of salt)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
Preheat oven to 325* and grease a 9x5 loaf pan.
In a food processor, puree all wet ingredients (butter, sugar, honey, vanilla, jam, bananas, eggs) until smooth.
In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients well. Pour in wet ingredients and stir just until combined but DON'T OVERMIX!
Bake for 45 minutes, lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the pan to prevent over browning and the bake for 25 more minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes then turn it out onto a rack to cool completely.
*This banana bread is great on it's own but it's heavenly when you toast a slice and top it with plenty of butter.

Peach Pie
No recipe to go with this one. I used the same recipe as my apple pie but I used a gallon sized bag full of frozen peaches from last summer. This pie had great flavor but because I left the peaches mostly frozen, the bottom crust didn't get quite done enough. It also leaked all over my oven because the peaches were so juicy. Next time I think I'll let the peaches thaw halfway, drain any extra liquid from them, and definitely put them on the bottom rack of the oven lined with a cook sheet to pick up any spills.
Her cousin, the apple pie behind her, was delicious just the way it was. Miss Apple Pie also didn't leak all over my oven. Not that I'm playing pie favorites....

Honey Wheat Rolls (from King Arthur flour)
I actually didn't change this recipe at all except to make the rolls larger so I could use them as hamburger buns.
These made delicious hamburger buns (they're topped with butter in case you were wondering what that was in the picture). I wanted a softer, potato bread style bun and this was it. I'll definitely be making these again as dinner rolls or hamburger buns.
Lentil Brown Rice Casserole
After reading a few recipes online for various lentil/brown rice dishes, I came up with this one. It was amazing. Jon even loved it and he's not a bean lover like I am. It was healthy, filling, and so inexpensive. It took me 5 minutes to get it ready for the oven. I'm going to be making this a lot more often.
Preheat the oven to 300* (yes, a low oven).
In a 9x13 pan, add the following:
5 cups of chicken stock (I used unsalted homemade stock.. skip the extra salt if you use salted stock)
1 1/2 cups of lentils
1 cup brown rice
1 onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 tsp of salt **see note with the stock.. you may need to reduce the salt**
Stir all of the ingredients together. Cover with foil. Bake for about 2 hours. You'll know it's done with the broth has been absorbed. Stir in a few tablespoons of butter before serving.

Ginger Snaps (adapted from this recipe)
This recipe makes a lot of cookies. I froze half of the cookies after I baked them.
2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 cup lard, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups flour (I used 3 c. whole wheat pastry & 1 c. All purpose)
4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
3 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375*.
Cream butter, lard, sugar, and molasses until fluffy. Add eggs one at at time and the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture a little at a time until full combined. Put the batter in the fridge to firm up for a few hours.
Roll the dough into balls about an inch around. Be sure to put the cookie balls about 1 1/2 " away from each other since they spread into discs. Bake for about 11 minutes. Cool on a rack.
The cookies on the left were baked for about 12 minutes and are crispy all the way through. The lighter cookies on the right were only baked for about 9 minutes. They were crispy on the edges but chewy in the center. Either way is perfectly delicious.
These have been a hit around here. They're spicy, a bit sweet, and wonderfully crisp.
Well, I'm hungry now... how about you?